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I live in Hangzhou



Asia > China > Hangzhou > West Lake > Useful Info
Updated on Dec 28, 2018 Useful Info

Must see spots of West Lake in Hangzhou

West Lake it self is very big. It takes 3-4 hours to walk around it. It's a cliche in China that West Lake is beautiful, and living in Hangzhou I can say it's true (minus the crowds). There are too many spots to see in a few days if I were to include all the little spots that I like, but here's a list of the top spots at West Lake any first time visitors shouldn't miss.

Map overview. You can click on the pins for more details

Su Causeway (苏堤)

  • Probably the most popular attraction at the West Lake. It's a long causeway you can walk on with trees and lawns. It's especially nice in the spring with all the peach blossoms
  • How long to visit: 40 minutes to walk end to end with no stops and crowds. 1-2 hours realistically
  • Price: free

User submitted photo of West Lake

Quyuan Fenghe (曲院风荷)

  • A very beautiful and big Chinese garden complex built on some marshlands within the West Lake, with a lot of lotus in the various ponds and streams that criss cross this complex.
  • How long to visit: 30-60 minutes
  • Price: free
  • How to get there: you can actually access it from the Su Causeway to the rear gate. The main gate access is just 1-minute walk west of the north entrance of the Su Causeway

User submitted photo of West Lake

Liulang Wenying (柳浪闻莺)

  • My personal favorite spot in the entire West Lake. This is a giant garden/park on the east banks of the lake with a view of the entire lake and lots of willow trees ("Liu" means willow) and other kinds of trees and flowers. Absolutely gorgeous place in the spring and summer, less so in the late fall and winter. Less crowded at all compared to other parts of West Lake
  • The lawns in this park are very beautiful and well maintained, with lots of little streams criss crossing them
  • It also has a view of the Leifeng Pagoda. Sunset view from here is beautiful
  • Price: free
  • How long to visit: 40-80 minutes

User submitted photo of West Lake

Gushan Road (孤山路)

  • This stretch of lakeside road offers a great view of the entire West Lake towards the south
  • The view isn't great on smoggy days, but on clear days it's quite beautiful with the lake in the foreground and the lush rolling hills in the background
  • I'd suggest avoiding the northeastern part of this road close to Bai Causeway, because it's packed with tourists at Pinghu Qiuyue, which is an official attraction
  • How long to visit: 10-20 minutes
  • Price: free
  • How to get there: it's public access so just follow the Bai Causeway

User submitted photo of West Lake

Duanqiao Canxue (断桥残雪)

  • Duanqiao means "broken bridge" in Chinese. It's referring to the bridge on the Bai Causeway (it's not actually broken by the way, it's named so because it apparently looks broken from certain angles)
  • You can see the northern section of the West Lake from this spot and the view of the "broken" bridge from this here is very nice with lotus flowers in the water in the summer, yellow leaves in the fall, and snow white in the winter
  • Price: free
  • How long to visit: 5-15 minutes

User submitted photo of West Lake

photo not mine

Huagang Park (花港公园)

  • A very beautiful park lush with vegetation and some classical Chinese buildings. It has a Koi pond in the middle where you can feed the golden fish. Similar to Quyuan Fenghe but feels more intimate
  • Price: free
  • How long to visit: 20-40 minutes

User submitted photo of West Lake

Three Pools Mirroring the Moon (三潭印月)

  • An island park in the middle of the lake. Beautiful scenery especially of the view towards Leifeng Pagoda. It's famous because it's the backdrop of the 1RMB banknote
  • Personally I don't particularly recommend this place as it's a hassle to get to (you need to take a ferry) and the view is not that different from anywhere else along the shores of the lake, and also it costs money
  • Price: 55 RMB for the boat to the island
  • How long to visit: 60-90 minutes including boat time
  • How to get there: you can get a boat from the docks at Huagang, Gushan Road, or Hubing Park

User submitted photo of West Lake

Leifeng Pagoda (雷峰塔)

  • The modern pagoda is actually a replica built in 2002 because the original one collapsed in 1924. This place has cultural significance as a spot in a very famous Legend of the White Snake, which is a Chinese folklore
  • The tower itself is ok, the view from the top is nice but I think the view from elsewhere around the lake of the tower is better. It's like Paris you want a view of the Eiffel tower not from the Eiffel Tower. People visit it more for the cultural significance than the scenery
  • Price: 40RMB to climb up the tower, free to stroll around the tower
  • How long to visit: 20-40 minutes

User submitted photo of West Lake

Jingci Temple (净慈寺)

  • This temple was built in 954, over 1000 years ago. It's one of the most famous temples in ancient China and there are folklores written with this as the setting
  • It's also not very crowded, a good place to get away from the noise in the city
  • Everyday around 4pm the giant, 10-ton bell rings. It has been ringing for hundreds of years
  • Price: 10RMB
  • How long to visit: 20-30 minutes

User submitted photo of West Lake